Movie Marathon #5: Pirates of the Carribean: Curse of the Black Pearl

by thethreepennyguignol

I’m a big Johnny Depp apologist. I love him in a few films- Sleepy Hollow, Ed Wood-like him in a couple more-Sweeney Todd, Edward Sisscorhands-and hate him in more than I could comfortably count on all my appendages. Dark Shadows, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Finding Neverland, and so on. And it doesn’t help that he manages to come across as a washed-up reject from the world of Bohemia, with interviews like painting him as the worst kind of unnecessarily adored, pointedly laid-back bastard. Which I’m sure is at least something of a collective misinterpretation.

But I will stand by his rightfully Oscar-nominated performance as Captain Jack Sparrow in the glorious adventure romp, Curse of the Black Pearl. It truly transcends simple prancing around on-screen-within that first, glorious introduction of Jack pitifully attempting to salvage a sinking ship, you’ve forgotten that you’re watching an actor trying to convince you of his validity-and bear in mind that actor is Johnny In-Depp-titude (look, I fucking tried)-and you’re drawn in by the charismatic piraate who redefines the word “swagger”.

Luckily, the film manages not to rely on Depp’s staggeringly good (literally and metaphorically) performance. Director Gore Verbinski weaves together a thrilling family adventure romp that nails the pacing (a tricky one for a child and adult orientated movie), relating a complicated and lengty ploy without ever dropping pace. Add to that some cracking action sequences-the budget was blown in the right place- and you’ve already created a movie I’d be happy to sit through. He even manages to coax some perfectly passable performances from wooden-as-a-stick eye-candy Kiera Knightely and Orlando Bloom as the star-crossed lovers at the story’s heart.

Verbinski is spoiled for choice with his supporting cast-the gleefully dastardly Geoffrey Rush, a rare American silver-screen appearence for Mackenzie Crook, the luscious Zoe Saldana and the criminally underused Johnathan Pryce (whose masterpiece Brazil I’ll be investigating at some point). But he doesn’t neglect them; rather weaving them into this gorgeous world of pirate zombies, boat chases and acursed gold. A beautiful, unreserved bit of entertainment from the Oscar-winning director of The Lone Ranger. If that sentence doesn’t cause reality to combust.